Holy Joys of God's Returning.

In the first post-resurrection encounter, Jesus appears to Mary of Magdala in the garden who does not recognize Him until, hearing Him speak the name Mary, her eyes are opened and she turns to Him.  Look at the beautiful space between their outstretched hands. Reminiscent of Michaelangelo's painting of the Creation of Adam in the Garden of Eden, the space is filled with Life and Love. The work of our return to Life begins when, like the Penitent, each of us who has recognized the Risen Lord as our personal Savior turns to Him and receives Eternal Life through the action of the Holy Spirit. Sent by the Father into the disorder of our lives, He begins the work of our sanctification and, through us, the restoration of paradise.  Through the metaphor of the garden, we can picture the Divine Gardener as He asks us to wait in expectation for the action of the Spirit whose work and whose joy it is to restore within the seeming isolation and disorder of the human condition, the true image of the Triune God. By divine grace, it is here in the heart that we are being healed, put into right relationship with God and with one another. As the Penitent runs to tell the others, so we bring Christ to one another and to the whole of creation.
It deepens that moment in the life of the Penitent when when we bring to it the image of the Virgin Mary who represents what each person is called to become in eternity. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she is perfectly united to the Heart of Jesus. With the Virgin Mary as model, we can enter into the garden of the heart where the work of our sanctification is being accomplished.
In the Carmelite tradition, it is within the enclosed garden of the heart that we encounter Jesus, Our Lord and Savior, Mary, model of the contemplative life, and all the company of heaven. It is also where we encounter ourselves and one another and, with the grace of God, discover our true home.
"My Beloved is a garden enclosed and a fountain sealed." These words from the Song of Songs caption what is perhaps my favorite holy card. Like the words upon which it is based, it is a metaphor to help us understand the nature of God's love.
When the Church, the body of Christ, is referred to as the bride of Christ it is because of her purpose; we are created by God to be His beloved, his faithful ones. The enclosed garden is a symbol of the heart of one and all who love the Triune God with fidelity.
The heart-shaped enclosure is more like a wedding band than a wall; it excludes only that which would endanger or defile the infusion of Living Water that springs eternally from the sealed Fountain which is the center of the garden of the heart and the center of all hearts united as one.
The word husband means spouse, and this is the sense in which the Scripture applies that term to Jesus as the Bridegroom and in which the Church applies the term bride of Christ to herself and to all believers. The word, husbandry also means to manage and to cultivate a garden or animals. Metaphorically, each heart is the garden of the Lord, and, collectively, we are all His garden, the paradise where He longs to dwell as our Source of Love, as our divine Spouse.
In this image we see the heart of one and all as a garden enclosed and Christ as the Living Water bringing Life to the world. This infusion of the transforming energy of God is not an impersonal force, and it's not a private privilege. It is Jesus, offering Himself to each and every person in the most intimate way possible, in Heart to heart union. Through the action of the Holy Spirit, we receive the energies of God for our own transformation and for the transformation of the whole world. Jesus offers us this triune love not for the sake of perpetuating our limited sense of the self, but for the true understanding of ourselves as persons created in the image of the triune God, created, not as individuals but as a community of love. In Christianity there are no individuals; each human being is a unique, eternal person and at the same time eternally one with all creation.

After His resurrection, on the first Easter morning, Our Lord's first appearance was as the Divine Gardener; he appeared to the Penitent, who did not recognize Him until he spoke the name, Mary, and her eyes were opened. Remember after she was forgiven for adultery, Jesus picked up a stick and wrote in the earth?  What He wrote, we are never told. I wonder if it was simply, the name, Mary. 
It deepens that moment in the garden when when we bring to it the image of the Virgin  Mary who is most often pictured with her eye's lowered, looking into the heart to see ever more clearly the face of the Savior. Perhaps He wanted us to begin to look within. when He said to the Magdalen, Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father.  He was speaking not only to the Magdalen but to each of us who He came to save and He wanted us to know that, having conquered sin and death, He could now, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, begin the work of restoring paradise. With the Virgin Mary as model, we can enter into the garden of the heart where the work of our sanctification is being accomplished. By divine grace, it is here in the heart that we are being healed, put into right relationship with God and with one another. Through the metaphor of the garden we can picture the Savior as He comes to restore within the seeming isolation and disorder of the human condition, the true image of the triune God.

Mother Incorruptible

My flowers are the fruit of glory. 

She is a garden enclosed
and a fountain sealed.
~ Canticles 4:12

J.P. Camus
Bertin a Paris

Under the sweet influence of her rays
the lilies of innocence grow
and the flowers of other virtues.
Bouasse Lebel 632
At the foot of the Cross in the livery of Mary. O, the sweet retreat! Bouasse Lebel 1761

The Divine Master sprinkles and makes fruitful this stay of His choice.
I am the Fountain of Living Water which brings the virtues into being.
Letaille, Paris
Flowers of the earth. I breathed their fragrance and gathered them to myself to make the heart of my mother - Bouasse Lebel
I am the true garden of delights that contains all species of flowers and the fragrance of all virtue.
The winter is past, the rains have ceased, and, behold, the flowers appear...
~Canticles 2:11-12

The Church teaches that as a result of the fall, all of creation fell.
In this engraving through the action of the Holy Spirit in the Mystery of the Eucharist we see the heart of the Christian coming into flower  and through the sanctification of the human heart, the beginning of the return to paradise for all creation.
Jesus, full of kindness,
make flower in our hearts
the virtues most pleasing
to You.
Bouasse Lebel
The divine Master gathers the flowers of His garden reserved for Him alone.
All for you, Lord, the flowers and the fruit.
I will separate her 
from the world
to make her
my faithful companion.
Bouasse Lebel 799

The soul sprinkled with the tears 
of the Heart of Jesus
will, by its sweet fragrance,
enrapture the Church on earth and in heaven. 

Jesus is the
Divine Gardener
of our hearts.
He cuts back
the dead branches
and in the others
produces the
fruits of salvation.
Bouasse Lebel, Paris

The Divine Master makes penetrate the light in this stay of disorder.
O Lord Jesus, permit me to see my disorder...

Note: Disorder and aridity are symbolized by the dead
branches or the lack of fruit and flowers, but here Divine Gardener brings His healing Light and His love.
Your hearts are gardens precious to Jesus.
Sprinkle with the living waters of his Cross the lilies He has sown.
The graft I work to enter into the trunk of the wildling
can only soften the bitterness of its fruits

Sheltered by the Cross
the lily grows in peace
towards heaven.

Note: the lily is the symbol
of one whose love,
purified from self-interest,
carries the fragrance
of Christ into the world.

Christ, the Divine Gardner, is depicted here within the heart of the believer 
gently and carefully working to uproot the weeds that mar its beauty.
The Divine Gardner gives the young shrub a guardian to support it.  
The frail sapling needs a stand and a support against the dangers to which it is exposed.
Bouasse Lebel
Give me, my child, your heart,
[and let your eyes delight in my ways.]
~Proverbs 23:26
Flower Precious to the Lord
I found it ripe for heaven.
Bouasse Lebel 1120
Obeisance is the guardian
of innocence.
Bouasse Lebel 3014

Obeisance, to bow to that which is greater than oneself, this is the soul's response to the Divine Gardener and His saving work.
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."~ St. John 6:35

God watches over the lilies
and the birds.
He watches over you.
Heart of Jesus, Heart of Mary,
never cease to love us.
Felix, Paris
Garden of Prayer
The waters flow forth with joy from the fountain of salvation.
O, good Cross, so much love of my Savior do I receive when I hold you in my arms.
Pannier 961
Prayer of Quietude

Whether I run or I stop,
I am all to You, and you all have me. O divine Heart of  Jesus,  your memory is my delight; I'm hungry I'm thirsty for your love.
Draw me into the bonds of Thy love.

O, Jesus, that your love might be the peace and repose of my soul, the strength and happiness, the aspiration of my life...  the whole of my heart.
of the Soul
Happy the state of the heart in which Divine Love reigns. Alone, the pure souls united to Jesus taste the ineffable delights.
Bonamy, Poitiers